Mindfulness-based stress reduction counseling appeared to provide a benefit for patients with thalassemia in enhancing their resilience and decreasing their rejection sensitivity, according to the results of a recent study published in BMC Psychiatry.

A randomized controlled trial with an aim of addressing stresses that patients with thalassemia may experience beyond physical ailments was conducted at the Kerman Thalassemia Center in Kerman, Iran, and included patients with thalassemia major who were aged 18 to 65 years.

Patients were stratified by gender and age and randomly assigned to an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group participated in 8 online sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction counseling that each lasted 1 hour and occurred weekly.

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The study investigators analyzed patient characteristics and patient responses on questionnaires about rejection sensitivity and resilience. These questionnaires included the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire, Adult version (A-RSQ) and the Conner-Davidson resilience scale. Higher scores on the A-RSQ are indicative of higher rejection sensitivity, and higher scores on the Conner-Davidson resilience scale suggest greater resilience.

The study included 33 patients in the intervention group and 33 patients in the control group. Patients in the intervention group had a mean patient ages were 25.39 +/- 4.68 years, and patients in the control group had a mean age of 26.45 +/- 4.82 years.

For the intervention group, the mean rejection sensitivity score before the intervention was 8.75 +/- 4.86, compared with 7.11 +/- 4.13 after the intervention. Mean rejection scores at corresponding points for the control group were 9.87 +/- 5.16 and 10.23 +/- 4.94, respectively. In an analysis controlling for pretest scores, the study investigators found that the groups showed a statistically significant difference following the intervention (P =.008).

The mean resilience score in the intervention group before the intervention was 67.72 +/- 17.98, and it was 74.18 +/- 17.46 afterward. The corresponding mean resilience scores for the control group were 63.69 +/- 19.43 and 58.06 +/- 22.81, respectively. Controlling for pretest scores, this outcome also showed a significant difference between groups (P =.004).

“The study results showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction counseling had a reducing effect on rejection sensitivity of the patients with thalassemia and increased their resilience,” the study investigators concluded in their report.


Ghonchehpour A, Forouzi MA, Dehghan M, Ahmadi A, Okou G, Tirgari B. The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on rejection sensitivity and resilience in patients with thalassemia: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2023;23(1):281. doi:10.1186/s12888-023-04802-z

This article originally appeared on Hematology Advisor